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Lyuba the Baby Mammoth


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How Did Lyuba the Baby Mammoth Die?
Close Up of Lyuba in St. Petersburg Laboratory

Close Up of Lyuba in St. Petersburg Laboratory

Photo credit © Florent Herry

After her discovery, Lyuba was transferred to the city of Salekhard in Russia and stored at the Salekhard museum of natural history and ethnology. She was temporarily shipped to Japan where a computed tomography scan (CT Scan) was conducted by Dr. Naoki Suzuki at the Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo Japan. The CT scan was conducted ahead of any other investigation, so that researchers could plan a partial autopsy with as little disturbance of Lyuba's body as possible.

The CT Scan revealed that Lyuba was in good health when she died, but that there were large amounts of mud in her trunk, mouth and trachea, suggesting that she may have suffocated in soft mud. She had an intact "fat hump", a feature used by camels—and not a part of modern elephant anatomy. Researchers believe the hump regulated heat in her body.

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